Protect America's Waterways

What's at risk? More than half of America’s streams

Over the past decade, polluters and irresponsible developers have used the courts to put Clean Water Act protections in legal limbo, arguing that the law doesn’t cover the smaller streams and wetlands that feed and clean America’s great waters.

Right now, nearly 60 percent of America’s streams and 20 million of acres of wetlands are vulnerable to pollution and development, putting the drinking water for 117 million Americans at risk. Polluters can dump into streams, developers can pave over wetlands to build strip malls, and the cops on the environmental beat can’t do a thing about it.

On the verge of the biggest clean water victory in decades

This fall, the Obama administration took first steps to close the Clean Water Act loopholes and protect our waters. This is big news—we’re closer than ever to victory. But Big Ag and developers will be using all their power and resources to bring this progress to a standstill. To get these critical protections over the finish line, we’ll need to show President Obama that the American public overwhelmingly supports clean water.

Our plan to defend our rivers and streams

It is clear that if polluters win, our rivers and streams lose. And we know that we can’t compete with their lobbyists dollar for dollar. But the public is with us—and if we can prove that to our elected officials, we can win. That's why we’re bringing together Americans from all walks of life to protect our waterways. From farmers to scientists, from local officials to ordinary families, we all have a stake in keeping our water clean. 

Our citizen outreach staff has been knocking on doors across the nation, educating Americans about what’s at stake. So far, we've delivered more than 100,000 public comments in support of clean water.

But if we’re going to drown out the opposition and convince President Obama and the EPA to finalize a rule and protect our waters, we can’t let the momentum falter. Right now, we need everyone who cares about America’s waterways to get involved.

Issue updates

News Release | Environment America

Coal Ash Ponds Put our Waterways at Risk

Toxic ponds filled with billions of gallons of waste from coal plants across the United States pose a threat to hundreds of rivers and lakes, and millions of Americans who live near them. As the public comment period closes on the Trump administration’s proposal to weaken current rules protecting waterways, Accidents Waiting to Happen: Coal Ash Ponds Put Our Waterways at Risk, a new report from Environment America Research & Policy Center, U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group,  documents the toxic pollution threats from these poorly-regulated waste pits. 

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News Release | Environment America Research & Policy Center

Health Experts and Advocates Issue Joint Call to “Get the Lead Out” at Schools and Child Care

National experts in education, child care and children's health today issued a joint call to get the lead out of schools and child care facilities.   Released during National Public Health Week, the new report echoes the key recommendation of Environment America and U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s joint “Get the Lead Out” campaign – that the best way to protect children’s health is to remove lead.

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News Release | Environment America Research & Policy Center

Industrial polluters dumping into rivers and lakes as Trump administration rolls back clean water protections

Industrial facilities dumped excessive pollution into U. S. waterways at least 8,148 times over a recent 21-month period, according to Troubled Waters, a new report by Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group.

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Report | Environment America Research & Policy Center

Troubled Waters

Over a 21-month period from January 2016 to September 2017, major industrial facilities released pollution that exceeded the levels allowed under their Clean Water Act permits more than 8,100 times. Often, these polluters faced no fines or penalties.

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News Release | Environment America Research & Policy Center

Environment America Praises Plan to Ban Fracking near Delaware River, Says Questions Remain on Toxic Wastewater Disposal

Late yesterday, regulators released a long-awaited proposal to ban fracking in the Delaware River watershed, which provides drinking water to 15 million people.  Environment America and its state affiliates hailed the proposed ban as a key step to protect the Delaware from the hazards of dirty drilling, even as the groups examine what further action is needed on issues like toxic wastewater disposal.

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